Dr. Domna Banakou (University of Barcelona, Spain): Walking in Groups in Immersive Virtual Reality: Temporal coupling during in-group and out-group interactions

Abstract: Past research has explored the psychological mechanisms of social cognition and how forms of joint action are the key to understanding the processes whereby individuals exchange and integrate information. Coordinating our actions in time and space with others may act as a social glue that holds interacting groups together. For example, we regularly hear and integrate the sounds and proprioceptive information of our footsteps along with the sounds of others, which often leads to a sense of being part of a group and of personal enlargement. We designed a study where participants are instructed as to a walking task within immersive virtual reality. Participants are told they will walk with virtual others while listening to and synchronising their steps with an auditory pacing signal (metronome). We hypothesize that participants will synchronize faster and more accurately when surrounded by members of the in-group, while we also expect these differences to be modulated by the group size.

Dr. Liam Cross (Edge Hill University, UK): How Moving Together Binds Us Together

Abstract Birds flock, fish school, dolphins surface, fireflies flash and crabs wave, all in coordinated ways. They are not the only ones; we all regularly move in time with one too. We sing dance and even walk together in coordinated ways with those around us. This ubiquity of entrainment suggests it may have once served some evoloutionary purpose. In this talk, I will discuss four empirical studies that evaluate if and how entrainment may relate to group identification and formation, if this may be a mechanism for entrainments socio-emotional consequences, and if entrainment could be a useful tool for fostering better relationships between disenfranchised groups.

Dr. Mengsen Zhang (Stanford University, USA): Always on the move: Fluid social coordination across scales

Social groups are dynamic. They constantly reorganize themselves at multiple spatiotemporal scales. What principles of interaction allow social groups to be fluid? Are there regularities amidst the incessant mutation? I will address these questions with a series of experimental and theoretical results on social coordination in middle-sized groups. The results are based on the “Human Firefly” experiment, where a group of eight people coordinated their movement by controlling and viewing a ring of flashing LEDs.

Anita Keshmirian (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany): Many Heads Are More Utilitarian Than One

Moral judgements have a very prominent social nature and, in everyday life, are continually shaped by a discussion with others. Psychological investigations of these judgments, however, have rarely addressed the impact of face-to-face discussion. To examine the role of social deliberation within small groups on moral judgements, we had groups of 4 to 5 participants judge moral dilemmas first individually and privately, then collectively and interactively and finally individually a second time.

Dr. Alessandro D'Ausilio (University of Ferrara & Italian Institute of Technology, Italy): The sensorimotor basis of human communication

Humans are innately social creatures, but cognitive neuroscience, traditionally focused on individual brains, is just beginning to investigate social cognition through the lens of realistic interpersonal interaction. However, quantitative investigation of the dynamical sensorimotor communication among interacting individuals in goal-directed ecological tasks is particularly challenging. The presentation will start from basic neurophysiological studies describing the basic mechanisms of inter-individual sensorimotor communication. I will then move to our current attempts to quantify non-verbal sensorimotor information flow within groups of interacting participants.

Prof. Ido Davidesco (University of Connecticut, USA): Brain-to-Brain Synchrony Predicts Learning in Groups

We know very little about the neural mechanisms that support people’s ability to learn with others in real-world environments. To address this issue, in the past few years, researchers have begun to investigate the similarity in brain responses across learners, a phenomenon called “brain-to-brain synchrony.” In this talk, I will present two recent studies that explored how learning relates to brain-to-brain synchrony between students and teachers.

Inbar Marton-Alper (University of Haifa, Israel): Is Herding in Human Groups Related to High Autistic Traits?

Herding is ubiquitous throughout all social life forms, providing beneficial outcomes. In the current study, we examine whether herding emerges spontaneously in human groups and whether it adheres to the core principles of herding observed in the animal kingdom. Using a computerized paradigm involving the movements of circles, we tested the emergence of spontaneous and intentional herding of 136 participants assigned into groups of four participants. Herding was assessed by measuring directional synchrony in the movements of the circles, level of cohesion, and separation between circles. We found that human groups tend to spontaneously herd, particularly in terms of directional synchrony, supporting the notion of a human herding instinct.

Prof. Peter Keller (University of Western Sydney, Australia): Sources of individual differences in rhythmic interpersonal coordination

Skilled joint actions such as musical ensemble performance showcase the human ability to coordinate movements with rhythms produced by other individuals by anticipating and adapting to each other’s action timing. While temporal anticipation and adaptation are grounded in fundamental sensory-motor mechanisms, the capacity for precise interpersonal coordination is nevertheless characterized by individual differences. I will present work investigating these individual differences in joint drumming tasks requiring paired participants to synchronize with one another under conditions of varying difficulty and leadership.